After two weeks of Speedweeks the big event has finally arrived with the 61st annual Daytona 500.
William Byron won the pole and will bring the field down for the green flag with team mate Alex Bowman starting alongside on the front row for the youngest starting front row in Daytona 500 history.
Stages one and two of the race are 60 laps each with stage three lasting 80 laps, but before the racing began Houston Texans defensive player J.J.Watt gave a very energetic command to start the engines. Dale Earnhardt Jr drove the pace truck for the race.
William Byron led the first three laps before Ricky Stenhouse Jr passed for the lead.
On lap seven, Matt DiBenedetto takes over the lead for his first lead of the Daytona 500 as the two rows of drivers swap the lead back and forth.
On lap 17, the teams begin to make green flag pit stops.
The first caution flag of the race comes out on lap 21
when Corey LaJoie sustained damage to his car…and his face painted on the hood.
Taking fuel only, Casey Mears wins the race off of pit road.
Ricky Stenhouse brings the field down for the green flag on lap 25.
After starting the race in 31st, Kyle Busch h takes the lead on lap 35 and swaps back and forth with Ricky Stenhouse Jr before settling in for the lead.
Lap 49, the second caution flag comes out when Kurt Busch spins out and gets hit by Bubba Wallace who then gets hit by Jamie McMurray.
Taking only two tires, Matt Tifft wins the race off of pit road.
Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag with just seven laps remaining in stage one.
Kyle Busch wins stage one. This is Kyle’s 21st stage win.
The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Taking fuel only David Ragan wins the race off of pit road. Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon, Martin Truex Jr, and Brendan Gaughan also took fuel only during their pit stops.
Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag start of stage two on lap 66 but it is Daniel Suarez who takes over the lead of the race.
Lap 67 joey Logano and Daniel Suarez swap the lead before Logano takes over the top spot.
Lap 75, Matt DiBenedetto takes over the lead as the leaders make green flag pit stops.
Halfway – lap 100 – Matt DiBenedetto is in the lead with 21 cars on the lead lap.
Casey Mears and Parker Kligerman make contact and brings out the caution flag with 14 laps remaining in stage two.
Kyle Busch wins the race off of pit road.
Ryan Blaney brings the field down for the green flag restart with 10 laps remaining in stage two.
Ryan Blaney wins stage two.
The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
With 30 cars on the lead lap, William Byron brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three but Aric Almirola takes over the lead with 75 laps remaining in the race.
Lap 128 William Byron retakes the lead.
Jimmie Johnson passes team mate William Byron for the lead. Johnson and Byron swap the lead for a few laps before William Byron settles in for the top spot.
Brendan Gaughan and Austin Dillon make contact on pit road as teams begin making green flag pit stops with 44 laps remaining in the race.
The caution flag comes out on lap 159 when BJ McLeod spins out of control in the tri-oval, Ricky Stenhouse and Tyler Reddick wreck on pit road after Reddick was involved in an on track crash, and Cody Ware is sitting in the grass. Jimmie Johnson was also involved in the crash and sustained heavy damage to the rear quarter panel including the fuel cell.
Taking only two tires, Kyle Busch wins the race off of pit road.
Jamie McMurray in his final Daytona 500 brings the field down for the green flag restart with 33 laps remaining in the race. Denny Hamlin takes the lead from McMurray.
The drivers are getting three wide across the track with 32 laps to go.
The caution flag comes out with 27 laps remaining in the race for debris on the track.
Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart with 23 laps remaining in the race.
With 20 laps to go, Kyle Larson brings out the caution flag when he gets into the wall in a single car accident.
Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart with 16 laps remaining in the race.
Caution comes out with 14 laps to go when Brad Keselowski spins out with a flat tire.
With only 10 laps remaining in the race, Denny Hamlin brings the field down for the green flag restart from the outside lane.
As Kyle Busch takes the lead, its “the big one” causing a lot of damage and sparks everywhere. Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Daniel Hemric, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Ty Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Martin Truex Jr, Erik Jones, Paul Menard, Tyler Reddick, Matt Tifft, Chris Buescher, David Ragan, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, and Matt DiBenedetto were all involved in the crash. While some cars were totally destroyed, all of the drivers climbed out of their cars and are fine.
NASCAR has red flagged the race to get the track cleaned up.
After a 25 minute red flag condition, NASCAR puts out the caution flag and the drivers begin moving again.
With only six lap remaining in the race, Kyle Busch brings the field down for the green flag restart. Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr wreck and bring out the eleventh caution flag of the race. Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott, Ty Dillon, and Alex Bowman were also involved in the crash.
In an overtime finish finish, Denny Hamlin gets passed Kyle Busch to win his second Daytona 500.
Daytona 500 results:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Martin Truex Jr